Thursday, July 24, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Donna Munsch

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Donna's painting, "Red Apple and Daisies" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Donna's DPW Gallery page:

​I have always loved to paint, especially with oils. My favorite subjects include: flowers, still lifes, landscapes, and animal portraits. I consider my work contemporary and realistic. I am inspired mostly by the world around me. I hope my paintings convey my love for the colors that surrounds us every day.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Like most people, I found out early that I had a talent for the visual arts. What lit the spark for me was a TV show by Jon Gnay and his art kits. If you grew up in the late fifties or sixties, you might have seen one of is shows where he demonstrates how to draw. I got one of his kits and away I went. I had drawings all over the place. After that, teachers noticed and I was encourage to try painting with watercolors and acrylics. It was in college where I tried oil paintings. Immediately, I fell in love with the rich color and consistency of the paint.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I graduated college with an art education degree and taught thirty-two years as an art teacher in Berlin, Wisconsin, so I am not sure you would say I ever really had any stops in my creativity growth. I will admit that teaching took up a lot of my time. I could only work on my personal paintings during the summer breaks. Now that I am retired, I am trying to paint a little every day or most days. I took a couple of online courses with Dan Edmundson to refresh my skills and that is what motivated me to look into selling my paintings online. I highly recommend his courses to anyone who has an interest in learning how to paint. He is an excellent teacher!

Red Apple and Daisies
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Donna's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

During my college days I had a lot of opportunities to explore different visual arts. Art Education degrees require a very broad, general scope of the visual arts and many classes of learning and teaching techniques. I made weavings, puppets, figure sketches, paintings, jewelry, bronze sculpture, etc. Personally, I knew painting would always be my number one art hobby.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Oil painting stuck as you can see. Watercolor and acrylic painting, I haven't done that for years. Maybe in the future; if I find a good teacher I might be tempted to get back into watercolor. I do like the transparency of watercolor.

Pear Kiwi Slices
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Right now, I am trying to learn how to paint faster and use fewer strokes when painting. It is a challenge for me but it helps when working on smaller panels. The fastest I have ever painted a painting was in two days vs. my usual three. I am hoping someday to finish one in a day that I am satisfied with and don't feel a need to go back to it the next day.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired by the beautiful things around me, by the teachers I have known and mostly other artists. When I see a beautiful painting, I want to pick up a brush and join in. When I learn a new technique, I want to try it. When I see a beautiful flower in the sunlight, I want to paint it. When I see master artwork in a museum I want to yell, "ah! How did they do that?!"

Silver Vase Flowers
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I am not a big procrastinator. I am too high strung and nervous for that. It bothers me when I have to stop a painting and step back from it. I can not get it out of my head until I am finished. So maybe I am not a procrastinator, but I do need to put effort into relaxing before I start a painting. My dog Tuck sees to that. Tuck says walk first then paint!

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I use to do errands and housework before painting but then there are days I would never get to the fun part, painting. So now I try to start the day relaxing, painting and then do all the lovely stuff like dishes, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc. That seems to work most days.

One Giant Peach Lily
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Getting ideas for paintings can sometimes be a little bit of work. I use photos I have taken, or others have. Paint My Photo website is an excellent resource for ideas. I also paint from still lifes I have created. I do not paint outside. I once did and hope to get back into that when my painting speed picks up and the mosquitos calm down.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I keep my art fresh by changing the subject matter. I like going back and forth between still lifes and landscapes. Landscapes help me to loosen up and focus on depth in a painting. Still lifes help with the basics, drawing and value.

Sliced Tomato in Lucky Dish
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Right now I am learning so much by selling on this site and etsy. I never shipped overseas before or mailed paintings before, it is quite exciting!

What makes you happiest about your art?

What truly makes me happiest about painting is the doing. I just love the way paint flows from brushes and the way all the beautiful colors mix.

Thanks, Donna!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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